“Microsoft Monday” takes a look back at the past week of news related to Microsoft. This week, “Microsoft Monday” includes details about a fake “Blue Screen of Death” malware that is spreading, the free games for Xbox Live Gold members in November, the Windows 10 Creators Update, the Surface Book i7, the Surface Studio, the Surface Dial, the new MyPeople feature, Minecraft coming to Apple TV and more!
Microsoft Warns That A Fake BSoD Malware Called Hicurdismos Is Spreading
There is a new type of malware that is spreading known as “Hicurdismos.” Hicurdismos poses as Microsoft Security Essentials installer software. In Windows 8 and Windows 10, Windows Defender is installed and enabled by default. But some users might believe they need to download and install Microsoft Security Essentials.
Recently Microsoft discovered a threat detected as SupportScam:MSIL/Hicurdismos, which pretends to be a Microsoft Security Essentials installer. And Hicurdismos shows a fake Windows error message (known as the BSoD or the “blue screen of death”). The normal BSoD requires the user to reboot the computer, but the fake one recommends users to call a fake technical support number. Here is what the fake BSoD looks like:
And this is what the fake Hicurdismos installer looks like:
“The threat of technical support scams has been around for years, but it’s recently been observed to be growing. We’ve seen attackers becoming more sophisticated with their social engineering tactics to try to mislead users into calling for technical support and then they are asked for payment to ‘fix the problem’ on the PC that does not exist. Real error messages from Microsoft do not include support contact details,” said Microsoft in a blog post.
In the month of November, Xbox Live Gold users will be eligible for four new free games — two on the Xbox One and two on the Xbox 360. And both of the Xbox 360 games can be played on the Xbox One with backward compatibility.
Xbox Live Gold members can download Super Dungeon Bros for free during the month of November. And Murdered: Soul Suspect will be available for free from November 16th – December 15th.
Monkey Island: SE will be free for Xbox Live Gold members between November 1st – November 15th. And Xbox Live Gold members can download Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon for free between November 16th – November 30th.
Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Creators Update, Surface Book i7, Surface Studio, Surface Dial And MyPeople
Last week, Microsoft hosted a Windows 10 event in New York City where it announced the Windows 10 Creators Update and several new devices.
Windows 10 Creators Update
Microsoft is emphasizing new creativity and gaming experiences with the Windows 10 Creators Update. One of the biggest additions is Paint 3D Preview.
Paint 3D Preview allows users to quickly create 3D objects. Using Paint 3D Preview, you can also turn 2D images into 3D objects “with just a click.” And Minecraft players will be able to 3D print items from the game Paint 3D. Microsoft is creating an online community of 3D printing fans to share their work and upload creations called Remix 3D. Remix 3D will support uploads from the SketchUp application.
The Creators Update also adds new features to Xbox such as e-sports and streaming broadcasts. Microsoft announced it has partnered with a company called Beam for the streaming partnership. And there is a tournament creation mode so users can customize brackets. In the past, Microsoft organized the Arena tournaments.
Microsoft Partners With Five Companies For Virtual Reality
At the Windows 10 event, Microsoft announced it has partnered with 5 companies for its VR headset platform. The five companies include HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Acer. These five companies will build virtual reality headsets with starting prices of $299. This means that there will be many more options than having to pick between VR headsets made by Oculus and HTC.
The new devices that were announced include the the Surface Book i7, Surface Studio and the Surface Dial.
Surface Book i7
The Surface Book i7 is the successor to the 13.5-inch Surface Book released in 2015. In comparison to the previous Surface Book, the Surface Book i7 has 30% more battery life meaning it has up to 16 hours of battery life rather than 12 hours in the previous model. The Surface Book has an Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M GPU and a detachable 13-inch display. The retail price of the Surface Book i7 starts at $2,399. At the starting price, the Surface Book i7 has 8GB of RAM and 256 SSD storage. With the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M GPU and 2GB GDDR5 memory, the Surface Book i7 is able to push 1.9 teraflops of graphics which gives it double the performance of last year’s model.
Microsoft Surface Studio
Microsoft also unveiled an all-in-one PC called the Surface Studio. The Surface Studio has a 12.5mm touch screen, making it the thinnest LCD monitor ever built. The monitor is a 28-inch PixelSense Display with 13.5 million pixels and a TrueColor feature making colors appear rich and vivid. With a zero gravity hinge, the monitor can be brought down to a 20-degree angle.
The Surface Studio has a starting price of $2,999. This model includes an Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB hybrid drive and 8GB RAM.
Another major hardware announcement was the Surface Dial. The Surface Dial can be placed on the screen of the Surface Studio. From there, the Surface Studio will be able to automatically detect the location of the dial to generate buttons and toolsets for artists to edit designs. This tool would be especially useful for scrolling and zooming. You can also use the Dial to click or tap to pull up certain features. The Surface Dial – which is also compatible with the Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book – is available for pre-order now at a cost of $99.
Microsoft is also working on new features as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update so that you can message people from the desktop similar to the way Apple’s iMessage platform works. The MyPeople feature will show you your contacts at the bottom right of the screen and you can send them content without having to open up a separate app.
“With MyPeople, you get faster ways to connect and share with the people who matter most. Instantly access your key people from the taskbar, use apps of your choice to connect, send emojis, and share files or photos with drag-and-drop,” says Microsoft.
The Windows 10 Creators Update is expected to launch in the spring of 2017.
Minecraft Coming To Apple TV
During the Mac announcement last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed an Apple TV update. The Apple TV now has over 8,000 apps and it will soon be getting Minecraft, the popular sandbox game created by Microsoft’s Mojang. Specifically, Minecraft should be added to the Apple TV by the end of the year. To optimize the game play experience, you will most likely want to buy a third party controller for the Apple TV.